Veronica: This is USA Today Best Selling Author Alexis’s third year to be in the Pets in Space anthology and I’m always excited to read her stories because I love her universe and she comes up with the coolest ‘pets’!
Alexis: Stories aren’t completely made up. This includes far-future science fiction romance stories. Something in the real worlds that informs the story. In my story for Pets in Space: Embrace the Romance, “Starway,” the heroine’s profession—starliner pilot—reflects what it’s like to fly airliners on Earth today. Some of the similarity is positive. Some of it, alas, is not so positive. Either way, it adds the kind of realism that makes science fiction work.
Airline pilots are very, very smart men and women with high energy levels. This describes Nikka, the heroine of “Starway,” though her work takes her across stars, not lands and seas.
The modern work of the airline pilot—they call it flying the line—depends on Crew Resource Management. The old way of running a cockpit, in which the Captain was godlike and never questioned, resulted in too much smoking wreckage. Airlines, starting with United, worked out how crews should cooperate and synthesize everyone’s knowledge and experience into the best outcome for the flight. Interestingly, something like CRM was first devised by the railroads. I can well imagine such a good idea going to the stars.
Unfortunately, airline cockpit crews have schedules that are brutally hard on sleep. It’s profitable to the company to do it that way. Profit conflicts with humane work conditions. This is why transportation unions—probably starting with the steamboat pilots’ guild in Mark Twain’s day—are important. The Airline Pilots’ Association has a long and embattled history of protecting pilots and passengers. Nikka doesn’t have a union on her side. What she does have is something very characteristic of pilots faced with indifferent or bad management: passive aggression honed to a sharp edge. Don’t go out of your way to make an enemy of an airline pilot. Really, you won’t like the outcome.
Given her working conditions, Nikka has a quirk borrowed from an airline captain friend of mine. He loves eating at buffets after a long exhausting flight. Nikka likes a future equivalent—a food court with selections to choose from behind glass windows. She explains, “A starliner pilot has to make a cascade of decisions in real time. After a star run, when it’s been hours of decisions like that, it’s easier to for me to pick food out of the wall than decide with a restaurant menu.”
Not included in “Starway”—meaning there are whole new stories to be explored—is what it’s like for starport personnel—the future equivalent of the airline rampers. These guys and gals are critical to the airline business, not always appreciated by the public or even their own management, and have their own way of looking at their world. For example, Boeing 777’s, known as Triple-Sevens to pilots, are Bigfoots to the rampers. The big landing gear are what the rampers have to work around.
I wonder what rampers will someday call different kinds of starships?
Author Bio: Alexis Glynn Latner, based in Houston, writes science fiction about space exploration and star travel, adventure, hope and love. Her Website is www.alexisglynnlatner.com.
Pets in Space™ is back! Join us as we unveil eleven original, never-before-published action-filled romances that will heat your blood and warm your heart! New York Times, USA Today and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Ruby Lionsdrake, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Carol Van Natta, Tiffany Roberts, Alexis Glynn Latner, E D Walker, JC Hay, and Kyndra Hatch combine their love for Science Fiction Romance and pets to bring readers sexy, action-packed romances while helping our favorite charity. Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space™ authors have donated over $4,400 in the past two years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space™ 3 today!